Senior Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani died on Wednesday after prolonged illness at his Srinagar residence. He was known for his hardline ideology and was criticized for his pro-Pakistan advocacy.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s Politics
Geelani was one of the most popular separatist leader with mass followers across the Valley. Until last year he headed the hardline Hurriyat conference faction. He quit the Hurriyat Conference in 2020 and remained in isolation due to his deteriorating health. Geelani was an advocate of Kashmir’ merger with Pakistan and also went to jail on many occasions.
Geelani was a 3 time MLA of former J&K state Assembly before joining separatist politics. He was accused of instigating violence in Kashmir by successive J&K governments.
Most controversial statements by separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani:
1. Hum Pakistani Hain, Aur Pakistan Hamara Hai
Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI expresses heartfelt condolences over the demise of #SyedAliGillani and pays tribute to his valour & relentless struggle in the face of Indian oppression.— Prime Minister's Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) September 1, 2021
The PM announces a day of official mourning and says that Pakistan flag will fly at half mast. pic.twitter.com/L5Y2mmwX4S
The pro-Pakistan leader was known for his notorious remarks and Pakistan loved him for his stand. Even after his death, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his condolences and paid tribute to ‘his valour & relentless struggle in the face of Indian oppression’.
2. I am Indian by compulsion, not by birth
In 2015, Geelani storred yet another controversy by saying that he is not an Indian by birth, it is a compulsion. However, at one point of time, he declared himself as Indian while completing the formalities of passport to fly abroad.
3. Advice to Bollywood actor Salman Khan
In 2015, actor Salman Khan suggested to reopen cinema halls in valley. He was criticized for his suggestion by separatist leaders. Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani said that the issue of opening a cinema hall doesn’t have any importance where people are suffering.
4. Cannot accept India’s secular system
Though Geelani claimed to be Kashmiri, he was more of a hyphenated Kashmiri. His ideology was more of a distorted Kashmiriyat. Once he said, “India has a secular system, which we can under no condition accept.”
5. Hindus, Muslims are separate nations
In an interview given in 2010, Geelani said that Hindu and Muslims are two different nations. He said, “They are totally separate nations. There is no doubt at all about this. Muslims believe in just one God, but Hindus believe in crores of Gods.”
However he went on to elaborate this ideology further but it’s clear that he supported this idea.
Here is what Twitter Users Had to Say:
हजारो निर्दोशो का हत्यारा , कश्मीर बनेगा पाकिस्तान का नारा देने वाला #SyedAliGillani मर गया— Aßhishek Shukla | InvestorJi (@abhishek25) September 2, 2021